Monday, April 7, 2014

Project Management

By Phil Mevert

The profession of Architecture itself is mostly managing the projects that they are designing. This is usually due to the fact that most projects will need consultants such as Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Engineers (MEP), structural engineer and then possibly more specific areas such as, civil engineering, acoustical engineering and so on.  There are also special situations with certain building types such as health care and high security buildings and buildings that use special technical equipment.  In these situations the Architecture firm is typically the one with the direct contract with the client. It is then the Architects job to manage the consultants and keep them on track with the project’s time frame. As far as the overall Architecture firms management requirements is to manage expectations.  This is a necessity to help explain to clients and consultants on how long a project takes and that there could be possible unforeseen expenses once the project has started.

            Even though Architecture firms as a whole have to be able to manage, every firm should have at least one employee designated as a project manager.  It is the project manager’s responsibility to manage if not all projects going out of the office, then at least the majority of the projects or certain specific projects, such as large scale projects.  Some of the qualities that are extremely important to have to be a successful project manager are organization, attention to detail, ability to express and explain ideas both verbally and in writing, the ability to get along with and manage multiple personalities and must be able to stand up and take charge under pressure and manage time well. 
                When managing a project from the office and drafting stand point the project manager must be able to guide the technicians on how to draw the various details and sheets that will need to be complete for the construction documents and be able to present the work to the various personalities of the technicians working on the projects. As the project moves along the Project manager is also in charge of handling the coordination with consultants as well as coordinating with the with the client and keeping them up to date with how the project is moving. Once construction starts the project manager is in charge of coordinating the work and running meetings with the contractor and client throughout the construction of the project. In this state it is very important that the project manager can communicate clearly and effectively with all parties to avoid any possible misunderstandings. The project manager must be able to talk two different languages, the language of construction with the contractor and then translate it into layman’s terms for the client providing they do not come from a design or construction background.
                If you have a personality that is similar to these qualities or that can perform the various requiring task, then you will probably be a very successful project manager. A good project manager can make the architectural process of designing and building extremely smooth. 

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